Best Of :: Food & Drink
Although the career waiter has gone the way of the Studebaker and the eight-track, that sad fact doesn't slow John Carl one bit. After fifteen years as the most graceful, attentive server at one of the town's most graceful, attentive restaurants, Carl still loves his job at Tante Louise. "It's not what I went to college for," admits the Iowa native, whose first job in Denver was at Top of the Rockies in the early '70s. "But I do like to say I'm in the business of marketing escargot." First, though, he sizes up the mood and sensibilities of the diners at a table, then suggests just the right dishes -- escargot or no. After that, he goes about serving the meal with seamless, invisible efficiency; items appear and disappear from the table with barely a movement of air. You won't realize that Carl's at work unless you make it a point to watch him -- and then you'll be rewarded with quite a show. Watch Carl handle a difficult table with the greatest of ease. Watch Carl float like a butterfly without stinging like a bee. He's pure poetry in motion. "I was pretty green when I got to Tante Louise," Carl admits. "So I guess I've come a long way." And how, baby.
As fans of the unbelievably good ribs at Brothers BBQ on Leetsdale since it opened three years ago, we didn't think the British-born O'Sullivan brothers could get any better. But then they opened a second location in an old convenience store in central Denver -- a spot where they can serve cold beer alongside their hot 'cue -- and Brothers is now a real double threat. The dry-rubbed, slow-smoked, St. Louis-cut ribs are so tasty, so tender, we could eat a rack plain, but we also love the peppery, vinegary Memphis-style sauce and the sweet, smoky Kansas City-style sauce. Dem bones, dem bones.
You'll be dazzled by the late-night look of Dazzle. Even after the funky dining room closes, the intimate, elegant lounge keeps things cooking, serving up down-home favorites with an upscale twist. Stumble in at midnight on a Friday or Saturday night, and you can still snag a dazzling bar burger: a quarter-pounder on focaccia with your choice of Stilton or smoked Gouda, along with exceptional thin-cut French fries. If your night's been a rough one, add some iron via a soothing salad of spinach with candied walnuts and blue cheese. Better to eat late than never at Dazzle. (Fair warning: On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, the kitchen closes at 10 p.m., and Dazzle is closed entirely on Sundays and Mondays.)
Pete's Pizza makes a righteous pie -- and that's even more impressive since all of the pizzas that come out of this kitchen are completely kosher, right down to the meat toppings. For anyone who keeps kosher but still craves America's favorite food, Pete's is a real garden of eatin'.